Saturday, February 28, 2009

Thawing Out

Finally we see some sun in Michigan! All of the snow we have had has almost melted away. Everything is soaked, brown, and lifeless, but at least the sun is shining.

I've been reading some great books lately. I love to read, however I go through spurts. I will read one book after another at a really fast pace, then I burn out and down pick up another book for months.

I just read Three Cups of Tea and now I'm reading A Thousand Splendid Suns. I suggest both of them!

I've been such a homebody lately. I love to be home, especially when it is cold and snowing out. I have no desire to be out and about in the crowds, ducking from the germs that are going around. The only places I tend to go are the Y for my workouts and church and Bible study. Once nice weather hits, I usually like to be on the go, taking the kids to the park or going bike riding. For now, I enjoy a slower pace. My kids seem to enjoy it too. They are content to play with their Legos or Knex. They find things to do.

We are in the last few weeks of hibernation. Soon I'll be getting my garden ready, weeding, mowing the 3 acres we have, tending to my rose garden. Summer is busy. I'm going to savor the slower season. I like to get my house in order before summer hits. I go through closets and drawers. I am ruthless with getting rid of stuff. I'm not a pack rat at all. I go way the other way, and throw stuff out that would make people gasp! I hate clutter. I like everything to be caught up and organized and then when summer hits I focus on outside chores.

For now, I'll stay inside snuggled in a blanket with a cat on my lap. I'll be a book worm and enjoy life until we thaw out and slave labor begins again. :) Happy Saturday!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Changing Grumble into Grateful

The sun is shining in Michigan. That is a rare thing around these parts. Usually during the winter it is gloomy and cloudy.

I've been in BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) for 9 years. This year we are studying the Life of Moses. We are currently in Numbers when the Israelites grumble about not having meat and wishing they could go back to Egypt. I'm a children's leader for BSF-I teach 1st and 2nd graders. Tonight at BSF we will be talking a lot about grumbling verses being grateful. I've been very convicted lately about grumbling. I grumble a lot about laundry-it never goes away. But, I need to be grateful (the opposite of grumbling) that I have clothes, a washing machine, a family who wears the clothes. It is all about perspective!

I thought I'd do a post about things I love and am grateful for. I want to be a person who sees the cup half full, and appreciates the things I have, big or small. I'm going to change my grumble to grateful!

Things I'm Thankful For:

1. My husband's job (We know many people who have lost their jobs -I'm very thankful.)
2. Being a stay at home mother/homeschooling mother.
3. Having freedom to go to church and read our Bibles.
4. Having healthy kids (We currently have several friends who have children with cancer or serious illness.)
5. That we have 2 vehicles-so I have the freedom to go places during the day.
6. That I have a healthy and happy marriage. (Again, I currently have a few friends who are going through serious marital problems.)
7. That we have a church that preaches the truth.
8. That we live in a state that is so homeschool friendly.
9. That we are not in debt.
10. That I have peace, contentment, and joy.

Changing grumbles into grateful all starts with my attitude, and how I choose to see things.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dark Days

I've been watching CNN for updates on the plane crash in Buffalo, NY. I have such compassion for the families of the victims.

My dad died in a plane crash 15 years ago. I know what they are feeling. When I hear of a plane crash, my heart skips a beat, and I just feel such sadness.

My dad was a pilot. He flew an air ambulance in Wyoming. The night he died, he wasn't even on call to fly, but he took the call anyway and went. He was flying home from a small town in Wyoming with a critical heart patient, a paramedic and a flight nurse. He was 3 minutes from the airport. The air traffic controllers lost them on radar. There was no mayday call or signs of problems. They were just gone. The weather had suddenly turned bad. It was April 6, and there was a sudden snow storm. It caught them all off guard. My dad had flown in that type of weather so many times, he was very skilled. He was a flight instructor so he knew how to get around it. The airport was unable to send search parties out to see if they could see the plane anywhere, because the weather was so bad. They needed to wait until the weather cleared.

We waited almost 8 hours-all day long, to hear news. All we knew was their plane had been lost on radar. It was the worst 8 hours of my life. Waiting, wondering, praying.....I pictured my dad sitting in the middle of no-where waiting for search parties to come and get him. I figured he just landed the plane because of the bad weather...I was in denial. My mom and sister knew he was dead, they just felt it. I didn't.

8 hours later, a helicopter was sent out and in a short time we heard the news. They found the plane. It had crashed into the side of a mountain. All were dead. I was devastated and shocked. I ran to the bathroom and threw up. It was the worst time of my life.

My dad died 5 months before my wedding. My fiance and I flew back to Wyoming for the funeral and to be with my sister and mom. One of the hardest things I've had to do was board a plane right after my dad died in the crash. I was so scared and felt a sense of panic. I cried the whole way home.

During the week we were home for my dad's funeral, we had the opportunity to board a helicopter and go to the crash site. By this time the NTSB had removed the plane. We just HAD to go....we needed to go there and see where he crashed. I can't explain it. We landed and saw a charred mountain ridge. It was very hard. We were all in shock so things didn't really register...we were walking zombies really. The heavy snow that was on the ground the day he died, had all melted now. We walked all around, each of us on our own. We each tried to deal with this tragedy. As I walked in one area, I looked down and saw something glimmer in the sun. I stooped down to see what it was, and it was a watch. It was my dad's watch. This was a MIRACLE and God's personal blessing to me. It was in great condition other than a broken clasp. My dad was wearing it at the time of the crash. I have no idea how it ended up where I found it, and in such great shape. It was a miracle I just happened to look down and it glistened in the sunlight to catch my eye. I treasure it. I carried it on my wedding day. It is one of my dearest and personal possessions. It helped me to cope and it made me feel like my dad was with me on my wedding day.

The NTSB investigated the crash and a year or so later we found out that the de-icers were not working properly on the plane.

It has been 15 years since this day. I still remember every minute of it. I remember every emotion. I have such sympathy for the families of the plane crash victims from this week. I've been praying for them. Dark days turn to happy days again. It just takes time and God's healing touch.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Party Prep

My daughter and I have been very busy over the last few days. We have been planning a nice Valentine dinner for my husband and son for tonight.
It all started with homemade invitations.
We gave these to my husband and son on Wednesday so they could prepare their schedules for the party on Friday night.

Yesterday Brooklyn made place mats and table decorations.We planned our menu. Brooklyn chose baked white fish with lemon, homemade macaroni and cheese, cheese biscuits and heart shaped brownies and ice cream for desert.

Next we cleaned the house. (Braden got in on the action)
Next Brooklyn and I went to the store and purchased all of our items for dinner. Then we baked the brownies and set the table.
Now we just have to wait until my husband gets home from work and we will serve the boys a nice Valentine's dinner. My daughter has loved planning this all by herself. I hope it teaches her to enjoy serving others. I want our home to be filled with happy memories. It is a lot of extra work for a busy homeschooling mother, but it is so worth it.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Valentine's Day

I've been trying to be intentional with teaching my kids how to love and serve others. I really want that to start within our own family.

I came up with a fun idea for my daughter and I to do together this week. We are going to plan a nice Valentine's dinner for my husband and my son. We will make homemade invitations to invite the men in our lives to come to a Valentine Party on Friday night. Brooklyn and I will scour the cookbooks to find a nice meal to make them, and we will go to the grocery store together to find all of the items we need. We will make all of our decorations and table settings. On Friday we will work together to create a beautiful table and environment. My daughter really loves to do this type of thing, and I hope this will create in her the desire to make her future home a sanctuary and place of love. It all starts right here, with our own family. Serving them and doing something special together. I want my kids to see their brother/sister relationship and special and a blessing. I want them to enjoy spending time together (they do) and learn to do special and loving things for each other. I believe, if they can start there, then serving their own husband, wife, and children someday, will come easily.

I'll have pictures after the big party on Friday. I hope you will come up with fun ways to show your own families how much you love them and how special they are.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Bad Economy Doesn't Have to Mean Bad Hair!

Times are tough for people, especially those in Michigan (where I live.) My husband is one of the bosses at his company and this year they had to lay people off for the first time ever. We are not sure what this next year may bring, so we are in conservation mode at our home in terms of finances. We are just being very careful and thinking before we spend. We would rather have money in the bank than "stuff".

Being the Proverbs 31 woman that I strive to be :) I'm doing my part. I usually get my hair cut every 5 weeks-so I changed that to every 8. I go to a really nice place to get my hair cut, I think my hair girl, Kathy does a great job. I'm willing to go cheaper, but feel since I changed to every 8, I'm already saving money. I used to get my hair colored every 8 weeks-but decided I could save a bunch of money and do it myself. (eeeek) My hair lady tried really hard to change my mind on this. She said she had never seen any one's hair look right, after they did it on their own, plus it is always dry and frizzy. (Scare tactics.) This decision saves me $40 every 8 weeks. I think that is a wise move.

I hit the store and studied my options. I decided on Clairol Natural Instincts. 20-B Cinnamon Stick. This color seemed close to the color Kathy used on me. It was normally$9.50, on sale for $5.50 and I had a $3.00 coupon. So for 2 bucks I could have hair color????? That seems like a no brainer. It was really easy to use and I think the color looks great. It is really even and shiny and my hair feels really soft. I can't tell a difference. I'm feeling quite proud of my frugal-ness!

Next I decided the very expensive vitamins have to go. We are big into vitamins at our house. My husband, the kids and I take them every single day. We spent big bucks on good vitamins (because our Dr. encouraged us to buy the expensive kind-that you can only purchase from a Dr.'s office). you think this is a ploy? We spent about $100 to get all of our vitamins and they do last about 2-3 months, but still.....

The store I shop at had a "Buy one get one free" deal on good vitamins. I went for it. I spent $30 instead of $100. That seems like a deal to me. We will see if we notice much of a difference, but how can you really tell the expensive vitamins verses the cheaper brands?

I really want your opinions on if more expensive is always better? I'm starting to wonder. I've purchased salon brand shampoos that are SOOO EXPENSIVE before and don't really see much of a difference from good old Pantene products.

Something to ponder....but for now, I'm feeling happy I have good hair in a bad economy and extra money in savings because I made a few small changes. For the record, I'm never willing to give up my Diet Coke for a cheap version. I draw the line right there!